Speckled belly goose pot pie: It’s what’s for dinner

Published 11:55 am Thursday, January 27, 2022

Steve Shaddock doesn’t do anything half-baked. In the kitchen, he goes whole hog. He does it figuratively, and he’s done it literally (almost), at least once at his Lake Charles Shellbeach Drive home.

“It’s called a boucherie,” he said, getting up to grab Chef John Folse’s Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine from his kitchen shelf. “Folse (with whom Shaddock has cooked) has a great section about the Louisiana tradition of the boucherie (French word for butchery) at the beginning of the meat section. The Cajuns didn’t have refrigeration, so several families would get together and they’d all bring hogs to  make boudin noir out of the blood, bacon, debris, hams, grillades…. (Debris, according to the Folse tome, consists of hog trimmings and organ meat with brown roux and wild mushrooms.)

“They ended their night with a fais do do,” Shaddock said. “We didn’t do that, but we had about 60 people here, a few smokers and a giant cauldron for cracklins. It was just a hell of a lot of fun but a tremendous amount of work.”

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Not every detail went as planned. When Shaddock went to pick up his 120-pig from an Iowa farmer, the farmer asked him where he planned to put it. Shaddock told him he was going to put it in the ice chest in the back of his truck, to which the farmer replied, “Well he ain’t gonna like that too much.”

“He wanted to sell me a live pig,” Shaddock said with a chuckle. “I had to take it down the road to the Calcasieu meat packing plant.”

Shaddock hunts waterfowl and deer, using even the bones from his kill to create a lip-smacking luxury, or for the more cultured, the perfect demi-glace for his marchand de vin.

“I like it best with deer bones,” he said. “It’s sweeter.”

Most of Shaddock’s favorite recipes can be cooked in 30 minutes to an hour, but not his marchand de vin. That can take up to 40 hours. He says the taste is worth the time.

“There’s nothing quite like it,” he said.

He fishes all over the world, mainly fly fishing, and the catch goes back in. In Australia, he cheerfully netted mud crabs, which he describes as blue crabs on steroids, at the mouth of a river on the northern coast of Australia despite the guide’s warning of saltwater crocodiles, stingrays and lethal box jellyfish. (If the resulting dish was as satisfying as Shaddock’s story about it, that was some good eating.)

He wasn’t as comfortable talking about his culinary skills. He said the best cooks are able to create their own recipes. He merely follows recipes, with the occasional tweak. He makes notes when he does, and updates his 260-page wire-bound “Steve Shaddock’s Favorite Recipes” cookbook. It’s a compilation of recipes from his favorite chefs and magazines, including his father, Bill Shaddock, who also has a cookbook and, in the past, hosted a classical French cooking school.

“My father’s always cooked,” Shaddock said, “and my mother is the co-editor of the Junior League’s Pirate’s Pantry cookbook.”

However, Shaddock’s first memories of preparing food is in his grandfather’s, his namesake’s kitchen.

“He’d let me help him make salads when I was little,” Shaddock said.

Shaddock started cooking in earnest  when he left home to go to  LSU. He married Cammie Moreno while they were undergraduates. Married for 41 years, she died November 18, 2021 after a courageous five-year battle with brain cancer.

“She cooked maybe 20 meals in those 41 years, and most of those were concentrated in a one-week period because when my kids acted up, I would punish them by not cooking,” Shaddock said. “My son and I were laughing about that not long ago. He remembers it well.”

His daughter’s favorite dish was Shaddock’s old-fashioned egg burger. His son’s was spaghetti and meatballs.

“When Stephanie was a cheerleader in high school, half the cheerleading squad would spend the night over here and we’d get up and make old-fashioned egg burgers,” he said. (It’s a burger with a fried egg on top.)

“The spaghetti and meatball recipe is from my mother-in-law,” Shaddock said. “Her sauce is the best.”

Shaddock had a hard time nailing down his own favorite dish, and recommended his frog legs recipe for publication. It’s his take on a John Folse recipe. He prefers cooking and eating at home to dining out. The evening before the American Press interview, a friend and his wife had come for dinner and the friend recommended Shaddock make the speckled belly goose pot pie recipe he had found in a sportsman’s publication.

“I just happened to have a couple in the freezer that I needed to do something with,” he said.

Speckled belly goose pot pie. It’s what’s for dinner when you know how to cook what you kill, and Steve Shaddock does.

Steve Shaddock’s Frog Legs Provencal with
Cajun Touch

(Makes 2 servings)

6 pairs cleaned frog legs

2 tablespoons Prudhomme Seafood Magic

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 slices

1 whole yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ 10 3/4 -ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup sliced mushrooms

⅛ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Herbs de Provence

6 birdseye peppers, minced

1 large pinch saffron threads

¼ cup chopped sweet basil

½ teaspoon minced fresh oregano

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

8 minced needles rosemary

1 Tablespoon sea-salt

1 tsp sugar

Zest and juice of one small lemon

½ pint whipping cream

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon Prudhomme seafood magic

½ teaspoon sea-salt

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle frog legs with Seafood Magic. Refrigerate in  Zip-Loc bag for one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make sauce. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion until clear. Add garlic and cook for 20 seconds, then add tomato sauce, chicken stock, mushrooms, parsley, Herbs de Provence, saffron, oregano, thyme, sweet basil, rosemary, Birdseye peppers, salt, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Simmer 10 minutes. When done, keep warm and reserve.

Heat oil in separate skillet. Dip seasoned frog legs in whipping cream, then dredge in flour mixed with Seafood Magic. Sauté in olive oil until well browned, then transfer to shallow minutes. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Serve over rice with favorite vegetables on the side For Monster Frogs, one-foot long like William Henning catches, it can take up to 11/2 hours in a Dutch Oven on the stove top.